Questions and Answers about Paving the Way
How old do I have to be to participate in Paving the Way’s Transition to Independence (TIP) process?
Paving the Way can provide TIP to youth and young adults who are between the ages of 16 and 21 who live in Erath, Hood, Johnson, Palo Pinto, Parker, Somervell or Tarrant County.
Can I participate in Paving the Way if I am only 15?
Paving the Way can accept you if you are within one month of your 16th birthday. In other words, if your 16th birthday is on August 15, you can become a part of the program on July 15.
Can I participate in TIP even if I don’t want to go to college?
Absolutely. College is not for everyone. Your goals are the important ones. We can help you graduate from high school or gain your GED, but then your plans will depend on your goals. You may want vocational training or simply a job to get you started – or maybe both. We will work to help you determine the best way to get you on the path toward adulthood. If you are interested in college, we will work with you in that area as well.
How much do I have to involve others in TIP, including my parents, CPS and Juvenile Services?
An important part of moving into adulthood is working with other adults in your life. Your Transition Specialist can help you improve those relationships so you feel more comfortable communicating with your caregivers and others. If you are under 18, your parents or guardian must give permission for us to work with you. Regardless of your age, if you are living with your caregiver, that individual will know when we are coming to meet with you. If we take you anywhere, your caregiver will know where you are going, who is taking you, who you will be with and when you expect to return.
Can I tell my Transition Specialist things without having others (like my parents, CPS, Juvenile Services) find out?
Your conversations with your Transition Specialist will be kept confidential unless you give permission for them to be shared. There are exceptions to this confidentiality if you are at risk of hurting yourself or someone else. The only other exception occurs if you report abuse, which legally must be reported.
Do I have to have a transition plan?
A transition plan is an important part of TIP. It provides a guideline for your journey to adulthood, pinpointing the steps needed to reach your goals. So the basic answer is yes, you must have a transition plan. However, that plan is developed with you. And it can be changed if necessary over time. If you are unhappy with your service plan or you want to change it, let your Transition Specialist know.
Do I have to do what my Transition Specialist tells me to do?
Your Transition Specialist is not there to tell you what to do. She will help guide your process through the TIP journey and probably will offer you suggestions and input, but you will have to determine whether to follow them. We do recommend that you talk through any disagreements you have with your Transition Specialist. She can be a good coach in your transition to adulthood, but only if the lines of communication remain open.
Do I have to meet weekly, even if I don’t want to?
Initially, you need to meet at least once a week with your Transition Specialist. During this time, you will be able to formulate your goals and ways to accomplish those goals. As you progress through TIP and move closer to a successful transition, you may be able to meet less frequently.
What should I do if I don’t like my Transition Specialist?
We encourage you to work through any concerns you have with your Transition Specialist by using the following procedure. Make sure you follow the steps in order and do not move forward unless you are sure a step is not working. However, if you cannot create a positive relationship with your Transition Specialist even after completing all of these steps, a change can be considered. It is important to know that if you make this change, it can slow your progress through the TIP journey as you and your new Transition Specialist get to know each other.
Step 1: Discuss your concerns directly with your Transition Specialist.
Step 2: Contact your Transition Specialist’s supervisor or agency. You can get this information by contacting Paving the Way at 817-569-4133 or through a confidential email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Step 3: Contact Nancy Stanley at Paving the Way: email@example.com or 817-569-5725.
If you have not resolved your issues after following these three steps, Project Director Nancy Stanley will meet with you in person to discuss the issue.
How long will I work with my Transition Specialist?
The Transition to Independence Process (TIP) is an individual process for everyone, so there is no set timeframe. Typically, a Transition Specialist will work with you for somewhere between 9 months and a year. But it may be shorter or longer depending on your specific needs. The ultimate goal is for you to graduate from TIP and manage your transition to adulthood yourself. Your Transition Specialist will discuss graduation with you from the beginning, and you will not be surprised when the time comes for you to continue your life’s journey without that support.
What is the evaluation program?
Paving the Way is evaluating TIP to see if it is truly useful in your life. An evaluator will first visit with you before you start TIP services and ask a series of questions. The evaluator will return every six months for up to two years – even after you graduate from TIP – to see what has changed. The evaluators will work with you to select a time and location that is convenient to you. And each time you meet with an evaluator, you will receive a $20 gift card.
Do I have to participate in the evaluation?
We strongly encourage you to participate in the evaluation of TIP. It is the only way to determine whether it is a process that will help others who are going through all that you are experiencing. However, if you are accepted into TIP, participating in the evaluation is not a requirement. Remember, though, that it is easy to participate and you do receive a $20 gift card each time you answer an evaluator’s questions.
How do I know when I graduate from TIP?
Your Transition Specialist will talk to you about graduation almost as soon as you start TIP. Typically, graduation occurs when you have met your goals and can continue to move forward without the involvement of the Transition Specialist. The goal is for you to be able to manage your own life as an adult.
What happens during graduation?
Your graduation will be created just for you. Some people may want a celebration, while others might want a time for quiet reflection. Your Transition Specialist will help you create a graduation that best meets your needs.
If I leave the program before I graduate and want to come back, will I be guaranteed the same Transition Specialist that I worked with before?
We cannot guarantee you will be able to have the same Transition Specialist as the one who worked with you initially. It will depend on the number of people that individual is working with. If you do return to the program and want the same Transition Specialist, we will do what we can to help. Be sure to let us know when you rejoin.
Is there any reason I might be asked to leave Paving the Way before I graduate?
TIP will work only if you are committed to making it work. This means you need to work with your Transition Specialist to implement your plan and meet your goals. On the other hand, if you do not want to do the work required in your case plan, TIP is not for you. You will be moved to inactive status if you do not respond to communication from your Transition Specialist over a period of time and do not offer a reason. If you decide you want to discontinue TIP services, you can end your participation at any time.
Is there a way to stay involved in Paving the Way after I graduate?
After you finish your journey through TIP, you will be able to continue participating in the Youth Groups. You may even want to serve as a peer mentor to other youth and young adults going through TIP. These are ways for you to stay involved in Paving the Way even after you graduate.
If I need more help after I graduate, can I come back to TIP?
While you will no longer be a TIP participant, you will be able to get support and help through the ongoing Youth Groups. If you have specific needs, we encourage you to send us an email through firstname.lastname@example.org. However, remember that Paving the Way is a time-limited program that will be working with youth and young adults only through September 2018. So it is important that you find the resources and supports you need for ongoing help.
Can you tell me more about the peer mentor position?
As individuals begin to graduate from TIP, Paving the Way will be looking for those who are willing to help others in the program. The mentors will be peers who have graduated from TIP and have made successful transitions in one or more areas of their lives. They will be matched with youth who are beginning or are moving through the TIP journey to provide support where possible. As with the Transition Specialists, the mentors are not there to tell youth and young adults what to do or how to do it. Instead, they are there to make the process easier and to help those going through the program see what they can accomplish.
How can I connect with others who are like me?
Paving the Way offers both large and small youth groups for older teens and young adults to get together with others who have similar experiences to theirs. Larger groups will be developed over time throughout the seven counties served by Paving the Way, and will develop their own leadership structure and determine what they want to accomplish. Paving the Way will help in these efforts and provide all types of support. But the groups will be yours. In addition to giving you an opportunity to meet others in similar situations, you will have an opportunity to build your leadership skills and learn to work with legislators and community leaders who have an impact on your life. The smaller groups are designed for those who are not yet comfortable working within a larger group.
How can I join a youth group?
To join a youth group, email Sara Shepherd at email@example.com or call her at 682-402-9767.
Can I participate in TIP if I don’t want to participate in a youth group?
Yes. TIP is designed to meet each individual’s needs. You do not have to participate in the youth groups if they do not meet your needs. We do encourage participation – you never know what you might learn or who you might meet until you participate in at least one youth group event.
Is there a way to send an anonymous email to Paving the Way?
The following email address is available only to Paving the Way administrative staff and not to Transition Specialists or anyone else: firstname.lastname@example.org.